Effects of Upper-Extremity Surgery on Manual Performance of Children and Adolescents with Cerebral Palsy: A Multidisciplinary Approach Using Shared Decision-Making

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Abstract

Background:

Little is known about the effects of upper-extremity surgery on the manual performance of children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP). This clinical cohort study describes our experience with patient selection based on multidisciplinary assessment and shared decision-making and the effects of upper-extremity surgery on manual performance and patient-relevant outcomes.

Methods:

All patients (up to 20 years of age) with CP referred to our multidisciplinary team for evaluation for upper-extremity surgery between July 2011 and May 2017 were included. Suitability for upper-extremity surgery was assessed with comprehensive, multidisciplinary screening, and the decision to proceed with surgery was made together with the patient. Individual patient-relevant goals were identified with the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM); perceived independence in performing bimanual activities at home was assessed with the ABILHAND-Kids tool, and perceived quality of use of the affected hand during daily activities was assessed with a visual analog scale (VAS). The quality of use of the affected hand during bimanual performance was measured with the Assisting Hand Assessment (AHA), and gross manual dexterity was evaluated with the Box and Block Test (BBT). All baseline assessments were repeated at an average of 9 months after the surgery.

Results:

Of 66 patients assessed by the multidisciplinary upper-extremity-surgery team, 44 were considered eligible for upper-extremity surgery. Of these patients, 39 (mean age and standard deviation [SD], 14.9 ± 2.10 years, 87% with unilateral CP, and 72% at Manual Ability Classification System [MACS] level II) underwent upper-extremity surgery and were evaluated in the pre-post study. All outcomes improved significantly after upper-extremity surgery, with average improvements of 3.1 ± 1.6 points in the COPM-Performance (COPM-P) score (p < 0.001), 3.3 ± 2.1 points in the COPM-Satisfaction (COPM-S) score (p < 0.001), 1.5 ± 1.2 logits in the ABILHAND score (p < 0.001), 2.4 ± 1.9 cm in the VAS score (p < 0.001), 6.7 ± 4.2 units in the AHA score (p < 0.001), and 2.2 ± 5.0 blocks/minute on the BBT (p = 0.021). The improvement in the COPM-P, COPM-S, ABILHAND, VAS, AHA, and BBT scores was clinically meaningful in 80%, 77%, 55%, 62%, 71%, and 31% of the patients, respectively.

Conclusions:

Careful assessment of eligibility for upper-extremity surgery, based on multidisciplinary screening and shared decision-making, resulted in a clinically relevant improvement in patient-specific functional and/or cosmetic goals and manual performance after upper-extremity surgery in most patients with CP.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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